Saturday, June 9, 2012

Michigan Road Trip, Part I

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Michigan Road Trip, Part I

Today, I would like to share with you Part I of a Michigan Road Mini Trip that my better half and I recently took.  It all started with a half price package for a Bed and Breakfast In South Haven, Michigan through the site Living Social. 

We have always wanted to travel to Michigan and when this package on Living Social was presented, we thought, why not?  We booked the two nights stay during our 43rd Wedding Anniversary date and then proceeded to plan out the rest of our trip.  If you are going to travel more than 5 hours to a Bed and Breakfast, you might as well see some more of the state.

We began our trip early on Sunday morning and our first stop was in Toledo, Ohio, approximately 2 hours away at the newly opened Toledo Hollywood Casino.  It had just opened the Tuesday before our trip, and we thought it was a perfect way to spend a few hours on our way to South Haven, Michigan.

The casino has very easy access off the Ohio turnpike.  A few small jogs in the road and you find yourself at the casino.  It is in a remote area with nothing surrounding it but open fields.  I must say, we were very impressed with the interior.  I would liken it to a casino in Las Vegas.  Very impressive.  The slot game selection was very extensive, some of which I had not seen anywhere else.  Large murals of movies covered the walls, free beverage bar service.  Table games were very extensive, also.  We ate lunch in the Sports Bar Grill.  One of the best I have ever been in.  Very large TV's covered the walls, great varied menu.  Food was extremely good and well presented.  Wait staff was courteous and prompt, even personable.  We managed to play for 4 hours and break even.  Not bad considering it was our first visit.

Back on the road for another 3 hour drive to our Bed and Breakfast for the next two nights in South Haven, Michigan.  For those of you who do not know where South Haven, Michigan is, it is on the extreme western border of the state.  A strip of sandy beach runs along the shoreline all the way up to the Upper Penninsula.

We stayed at The Inn at the Park B & B.  Most of it was on the newer side as the old Inn had been torn down with just a small back portion salvaged some years before. The owners at that time had built a new B & B incorporating the older original back section overlooking the lovely gardens.  There is a spacious side parking lot for the B & B that was very convenient.  We had chosen the Spruce Room which overlooked the gardens in the back of the house.  It was in the original part.  The room was pretty spacious and beautiful, bathroom was small but, sufficient.  Everything was extremely clean and neat, bed was confortable and the full breakfast the next morning was very good.  A chilled bottle of your favorite wine, two wine classes a corkscrew and two chocolate coveried stawberries awaited out arrival in our room.  What a nice suprise!

The next morning, after breakfast, we decided to start our exploration of the town with a visit to the Michigan Maritime Museum which was just down the street, a walking distance away. 

Our tickets cost $5.00 each and included the Museum which centered around the War of 1812 and the Battle for the Great Lakes with Commodore Perry featured.  Next to the Museum was the Padnos Boat Shed which housed antique Coast Guard Boats, mostly made of wood that had been restored and on display.

Outside docked in the Harbor was the 1810 Replica Top Sail Sloop "Friends Good Will". At slightly over 55 feet long and having one giant mast, it was pretty impressive.  We would have liked to have taken a sail on it, but, Monday and Tuesday are the days that it only takes larger group charters.  The cost is $30.00 a piece for an afternoon cruise on lake Michigan, or $40.00 for the sunset cruise at 7:30 p.m.

My husband, being a boat lover, introduced himself to the Captain of the boat and the Captain graciously spent about half hour with us letting us on the boat and showing us around while giving us the history of the Friends Good Will.  He was a retired gentleman and did this as a full time volunteer postion.  There were two college aged men on the boat with him who were paid Summer workers.  They were getting ready to go up the ships mast to do some repair work while it was docked. 
A six pound Pivot Cannon was stationed in the center of the deck.  Very authentic looking.  This fine sailing sloop also participates in events along the Great Lakes during the sailing season and takes on a crew of about 8.  They employ a ships cook during those times and a real wood stove is used to prepare all the meals.  Provisions for sleeping down below were very sparce with only a row of beds and two separate rooms with curtains for privacy housing the Captain and the First Mate.  They had the only windows on the ship.

Down the road just a little ways is a real draw bridge were the boats crossing over to the other side of the channel have the right of way.  We stopped to see the draw bridge opening for a sailboat.  There are crossing gates with warnings just like a railroad train crossing.  Very interesting.  The view of the Marina from there is just beautiful.
We spent the rest of the day shopping in the downtown district that has been restored with diagonal parking in front of the storefronts just like you would see in a small town.  Lots of Restaurants, Boutiques, Gift Shops, Antique Shops, three ice cream shops and a bead shop (Just Bead It), kept you busy all afternoon.  Our first stop was the bead shop, as I am a jewelry artist by hobby.  My oldest Grandaughter wanted me to bring back some sea glass for her as South Haven beaches are known for their sea glass.  Not wanting to search for it on the beach, I decided to purchase her some from that shop.  If you are a beader, Just Bead It is a wonderful, fully stocked shop with lots and lots of goodies!  The gal at the counter was very personable and even showed me a bibb necklace that she was working on.  It was just breathtaking, being made of sea shells and stitched all around with seed beads and pearls.  She had worked on it for months.  A true work of art!
That evening we decided to eat at Clementine's which is housed in an old restored bank building with real, original tin ceiling tiles and original electrified gas chandaliers.  The bar was awesome, service was very good.  The food is really good.  We had small house salads, an order of lightly breaded lake perch and lightly breaded shrimp that we split.  We started our meal with a small stack of their popular onion rings.  They were awesome.  And, with 12 on that small stack, more than enough for the two of us.  Warm chabatta bread in a basket rounded out the meal.  It was more than enough for us to eat without having to order full entrees apiece. 

South Haven boasts a wonderful beach area with a very large playground on the sand for families.

You can spend considerable time exploring the channel and checking out the boat marinas as there are many.

And, last but not least, here I am in front of the channel that goes out into Lake Michigan.
I will continue our trip in my next blog entry.  Be looking for it soon!

Rosemary, Garden Gate Designs  Check out my ArtFire shop for some beautiful one of a kind creations.

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